MAJOR AWARD WINNERS

• The 2008 winner of Germany's prestigious Spiel de Jahres is Keltis, published by Kosmos Games, but which will be released in English as Lost Cities by Rio Grande Games. Designed by Reiner Knizia, one of the top board game designers in the world, it sends game players on Indiana Jones-style expeditions to find ancient cities. "This is a great family game with simple rules, great theme, a lot of player interaction and quick play," says Jones.

• Games Magazine Game of the Year is Tzaar (Rio Grande Games), an abstract strategy game for two players, in which sides try to capture discs and create stacks of varying heights.

MAJOR AWARD WINNERS

STRATEGY GAMES

Aquaretto (Rio Grande Games): Similar to last year's Zooloretto, this can either be a stand-alone game or an expansion to Zooloretto. Players create aquariums and try to attract visitors with exotic aquatic animals. Whoever takes the best care of the animals wins.

Through the Ages (CzechBoardGames): A civilization-building game that offers an intensive two-hour-plus experience. The winner is the player whose world produces the most culture during the game.

Acquire (Avalon Hill): Originally published in 1962 as one of the 3M bookshelf games, it has long been out of print. Players try to earn the most money by developing and merging hotel chains.

Tayu (Goliath Games): A fast-paced game requiring strategy as each player tries to create as many water channels from one side of the board to the other, while also blocking his opponent.

Pentago (Mindtwister): A new version of an old game, it is a two-player abstract strategy game in which players play a marble of their color into an unoccupied space and then rotate the section of the board 90 degrees. A player wins by getting five marbles in a row.

FAMILY GAMES

Kayak Chaos! (SimplyFun): Be the first to maneuver your kayak up, down and across a river that you build as you go. Watch out for rocks and competing kayakers, which can change the flow of the river.

Turtlemania (SimplyFun): Inspired by the ancient Chinese game of Mahjong, the goal is to dismantle 135 colorful tiles by matching identical patterns as fast as you can. Make the most matches and collect the most points.

Rolit (Goliath Games): Surround your opponent's playing pieces and switch them to your color. The one with the most pieces in their color at the end of the game wins.

It's Alive (Reiver Games): Play mad scientist and be the first to create your monster by collecting body parts, but watch out for the wrathful villagers who may come after you.

PARTY GAMES

Wits and Wagers (North Star Games): A multi-award winning trivia game for people who don't do trivia. Each player writes a guess to a question such as "In feet, how tall is the tallest recorded giraffe" or "In what year did the bikini make its first appearance." Then players wager on which answer is the closest. You can even bet on yourself.

Time's Up (R&R Games): A new deluxe version of a previously published game, it involves guessing the names of celebrities or characters. In the first round, anything goes for clues; in the second round you can use only words; in the third round, it's charades.

Loaded Questions: Political Party (All Things Equal, Inc.): The latest edition of the Loaded Questions games elicits creative, irreverent and revelatory answers. Your job is to guess who wrote which answer to questions such as: What government job is best suited to your abilities? What is America's greatest contribution to the world? Who would make a terrible first lady?

Word Sweep (Start Space Games): Players use dictionary clues to identify consecutive words from a Merriam-Webster dictionary. Identify three straight words and that's a "word sweep."

KIDS GAMES

Arthur Saves the Planet (Sophisticated Games): Based on the popular books and TV series, this empowering game allows kids to work together to make Elwood City a better place.

The Adventures of Riley: Penguin Rescue (SimplyFun): Based on the award-winning book, the game features a race to Antarctica to rescue penguins. The first adventurer to collect five and return home wins the game, but along the way are informative facts, twists and turns.

Pengolo (Blue Orange): Roll the dice, lift the penguins and try to find their colorful eggs. The first to collect six penguins wins. A good memory and a little luck will help.

Horton Hears a Who (I Can Do That Games): Wear elephant hats and try to find the colorful clovers in this game based on the recent Dr. Seuss movie.

Fancy Nancy Posh Bedroom Game (Brian Patch): Based on the popular children's book loved by little girls who like to dress up, players try to get things to decorate their rooms.

POP CULTURE

High School Musical 3 East High Forever (Milton Bradley): Based on the popular movie franchise, players try to make it through their senior year. Choose the right path and collect the most happiness points to win.

Naked Brothers Band VIP Concert Tour (Milton Bradley): Follow this Nickelodeon band from city to city; get the best tickets and score points.

Mall Madness: Hannah Montana Edition (Hasbro): Dive into the world of singing star Hanna Montan as she engages in one of her favorite pastimes — shopping. Players use ATM cards and hit the biggest sales.

CLASSICS REVISITED

Game of Life: Pirates of the Caribbean At Worlds End (Milton Bradley): The pirate with the most treasure wins.

Monopoly Here & Now: The World Edition (Parker Brothers): Millions of people all over the world voted on which cities they wanted for the game. In a modern twist, players use cards and an electronic banking unit instead of cash.

Clue: The Harry Potter Edition (Parker Brothers): Set in Hogwarts, the mystery of who did it, with what and where takes players from the Divination Classroom to Dumbledore's Office and more. They can equip themselves with spells and magic items as they face unexpected challenges.

Risk: Godstorm (Avalon Hill): Players battle for domination of an ancient and mythological world.

Trapdoor Checkers (Goliath Games): A new twist in that players spin to see whether they open or close trapdoors or move their checkers. If your checker is on the trapdoor, too bad for you.

Operation (Hasbro): A new version introduces 13 new ailments (including a "frog in the throat"), and sound now directs game play, so young doctors-in-training are kept guessing what happens next.

Trivial Pursuit: 25th Anniversary Edition (Hasbro): Getting a face-lift for its silver anniversary, the game contains easy, medium and hard questions, with rewards for taking bigger risks.

CARD GAMES

Ticket to Ride: The Card Game (Days of Wonder): The latest installment in the popular franchise in which you collect the trains cards you need to reach your destination.

Race for the Galaxy (Rio Grande Games). Players build galactic civilizations by collecting game cards that represent worlds or technical and social developments.

Rapscallion (Bezier Games): Use a simple bidding process to obtain cards and time the use of your Rapscallion cards to guarantee the most critical plays. It has some elements of poker, but is set in the Victorian Era.

LOCAL INTEREST

Build the Kingdom (Missionary Novelty Co.): Your duty is to build the Kingdom of God by placing Books of Mormon, gaining converts and building ward houses. The first player to gain 10 celestial points wins.

The Greatest Mission in the World (MNC): A Risk-like game with missionaries as the forces of good.

Celestialzy (MNC): A Yahtzee-like game that involves rolling symbols in various combinations to fill your card.

LDSopoly (MNC): Gain stewardship over sets of temples in Monopoly-like fashion.

Book of Mormon Checkers (Covenant): A variation of Tic Tac Toe and Checkers, using game pieces featuring Val Chadwick Bagley's artwork.

Noah's Ark (Covenant): Animal cards featuring Bagley's artwork that can be used to play a version of Old Maid, Go Fish and other card games.


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